Utilitas 22 (2):184-197 (2010)

Authors
Thomas Douglas
Oxford University
Abstract
One prevalent type of slippery slope argument has the following form: (1) by doing some initial act now, we will bring it about that we subsequently do some more extreme version of this act, and (2) we should not bring it about that we do this further act, therefore (3) we should not do the initial act. Such arguments are frequently regarded as mistaken, often on the grounds that they rely on speculative or insufficiently strong empirical premises. In this article I point out another location at which these arguments may go wrong: I argue that, in their standard form, the truth of their empirical premises constitutes evidence for the falsity of their normative premises. If we will, as predicted, do the further act in the future, this gives us at least a prima facie reason to believe that the performance of this further act would be good, and thus something we should try to bring about. I end by briefly assessing the dialectic implications of my argument. I delineate a subset of slippery slope arguments against which my objection may be decisive, consider how the proponents of such arguments may evade my objection by adding further premises, and examine the likely plausibility of these additional premises.
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820810000087
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.

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Citations of this work BETA

Slippery Slope Arguments.Anneli Jefferson - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):672-680.

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